Pandemic creates ‘window of opportunity’ for fraudsters – SmartSearch

The coronavirus pandemic has created a “window of opportunity” for fraudsters, according to anti-money laundering (AML) firm, SmartSearch.

The AML expert was responding to recent figures that showed Action Fraud had received just over 17,000 reports of investment fraud between September 2019 and September 2020, amounting to £657.4m in reported losses.

This was a 28% increase when compared to the same period in the previous year.
 
“The instability created by crises such as the coronavirus are seen as a window of opportunity for fraudsters,” said SmartSearch CEO, John Dobson. “We predicted at the beginning of lockdown that due to businesses being forced to operate virtually, fraudsters would look to pounce on this opportunity.
 
“However, operating remotely with automated process should be secure from fraud despite not being able to see a client face-to-face, as electronic ID checks are a more effective and efficient method. This pandemic should have resulted in less fraud and money laundering as businesses should have shifted to a dynamic, automated anti-money laundering solution.”

Dobson also noted that with a vaccine on the horizon, there is a “danger” that firms might return to the office and go back to manual methods of ID checking.

“With forgeries so sophisticated now, this is a risk not worth taking,” he added. “To truly know your client, an electronic verification simply requires your client’s name and address, a date of birth is optional and in two seconds you will have an independent robust proof of identity.
 
“Businesses can be up and running with a full electronic AML platform in less than 48 hours, and it can deliver completely reliable ID verification and global sanctions and PEP screening in a matter of seconds.”

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